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Category Archives: job security

Jacob Saulwick
May 15, 2009

JOBLESSNESS in the inner city is already approaching 10 per cent, while working hours are also falling as recession eats into working conditions.

Detailed labour force figures released yesterday by the Bureau of Statistics show the uneven spread of job losses throughout Sydney and NSW.

In the inner city, for example, the number of unemployed has more than doubled since the end of last year – from 15,800 in December to 31,900 in April.

The figures are sketchy – the bureau urges caution because of small sample sizes – but trends are emerging in the geographic sweep of joblessness.

The unemployment rate in inner Sydney and in the inner west increased every month from the end of last year, from 4.6 per cent in December to 9 per cent in April. For men in the area, unemployment has hit 12 per cent, while the female rate is about 6 per cent. For most of last year unemployment in the region was closer to 4 per cent.

Sydney, with the nation’s highest concentration of finance sector workers, has been an early victim of the downturn. But while finance companies have been steadily laying off staff for the best part of a year, it is only in recent months that rising unemployment has started to emerge in official figures.

Outer suburbs – Fairfield, Bankstown, north-west Sydney – have had higher unemployment in the past couple of years. But they have not had the same level of increase since the financial crisis escalated last September.

Yesterday’s report provides more detail than the Bureau’s release last week, which showed the national unemployment rate dropping from 5.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent, and NSW unemployment falling from 6.8 per cent to 6 per cent.

The report also showed employees have started to work shorter hours, typically a precursor to rising joblessness. For the first time since figures were collected eight years ago, the average male working week dropped below 41 hours. For females, it dropped less sharply, to 31 hours.

The report comes as a range of indicators point to improvements in economic confidence.

A consumer confidence index compiled by Roy Morgan rose more than seven points last month to 104.5, and is now seven points higher than a year ago.

Some 38 per cent of Australians – 5 per cent more than the previous month – expected their family to be “better off financially” by the same time next year. Only 17 per cent – a fall of 5 per cent – expected to be worse off, the survey, conducted before the budget, showed.

A separate report from the Bureau of Statistics highlighted emerging strength in the first-home market, with housing finance increasing 7.3 per cent in March. And loans to build new homes have increased by more than 40 per cent in the past seven months, spurred on by the $21,000 government grant.

The success of the first-home owner’s grant has raised hopes Australia will avoid the precipitous falls in home prices that have hit the US and Britain.

But a Royal Bank of Scotland economist, Kieran Davies, warned that lower interest rates and limited new housing supply might not support house prices in the coming year.

“House price dynamics can develop a life of their own … Prices may fall further independently of what happens to unemployment,” he said.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/jobless-rate-doubles-in-innercity-sydney-20090514-b4ti.html?page=-1

Michelle Grattan and Tim Colebatch
May 12, 2009

The second Rudd Government budget will predict a huge $58 billion deficit.

TONIGHT’S second Rudd Government budget will predict a huge $58 billion deficit in the new financial year — a record 4.9 per cent of GDP, higher than in any post-war recession.

It will also estimate almost a million people will be unemployed, with the unemployment rate rising from 5.4 per cent to 8.5 per cent.

Costello: Swan ‘desperate’
Peter Costello accuses Wayne Swan of desperation over the looming budget deficit but fails to answer whether he would run a deficit himself.

The budget will cut into so-called middle-class welfare, and slice spending in other areas, but the collapse of revenue and the cost of the earlier stimulus packages will bring a string of red numbers.

The deficit is an $80 billion turnaround since the forecasts in last year’s budget.

The leak of the figure last night prompted the Opposition to declare that “the Australian Labor Party has lost control of the nation’s finances”.

The Government will today seek to rush through a bill to allow it to keep $365 million in revenue collected from its defeated alcopop tax. It has also signalled that it will try again to get the tax hike through the Senate.

Its fate will depend on a change of heart by Family First senator Steve Fielding, who voted against it last time. There is agreement to validate the $365 million already collected.

Treasury now forecasts that the economy’s collapse will lift unemployment to record levels. While the unemployment rate is expected to peak at 8.5 per cent, well below its 10.9 per cent peak in the last recession, the total numbers out of work would rise even above the 933,000 unemployed in December 1992.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, preparing to justify the unprecedented deficit, said Treasury advice to be published in the budget was that if the Government had not brought in its earlier stimulus measures, unemployment would have reached 10 per cent.

The budget would “support the jobs of today by investing in the infrastructure we need for tomorrow”, Mr Rudd said yesterday.

Treasury’s advice was “the final nail in the coffin for those who argue that governments should do nothing to support jobs during a global recession”.

“We are in the worst recession, the worst global recession since the Great Depression,” Mr Rudd said.

Meanwhile former NSW Labor treasurer Michael Costa launched a sharp attack on the Government, saying he had always taken the view “the Prime Minister and his Treasurer don’t know what they are doing”. The stimulus had been a “disaster”, Mr Costa said.

“The issue comes down to how many jobs did you actually save for that level of spending and the cost-benefit of the stimulus becomes an issue.”

A pension rise of about $30 a week, a go-ahead for major infrastructure programs and the promised parental leave scheme will be among the budget’s good news, but many people will be hit in the hip pocket by losing their private health insurance rebate and superannuation concessions.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the Rudd Government was “a reckless spender”. “Every man, every woman and every child will have a burden of $2600 just for next year’s budget.”

But he refused to say what would be an appropriate level of debt. Mr Hockey said it was “inconceivable that we could have such a deterioration of unemployment in such a short time. We left the Labor Party with unemployment levels at 4 per cent, with a $22 billion surplus, with no debt.”

Mr Rudd said every government worldwide was “engaged in temporary borrowing”.

The Government has the added problem of a hostile Senate, which puts at risk some of its savings measures.

The Opposition is reserving its positions on measures such as the means test on the private health insurance rebate, which has been criticised by Senator Fielding and independent senator Nick Xenophon.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said this was “unquestionably a broken election promise. “There was no election promise that was made more repeatedly or more emphatically by Mr Rudd than that there would be no change to the private health insurance rebate.”

Attempting to apply heat to the Coalition, Treasurer Wayne Swan said: “The Opposition on the one hand can’t be out there saying they’ll support a pension increase, then knock back the savings that make that pension increase sustainable for the long term. They can’t have it both ways.”

Mr Swan said the budget was complex. “We have to stimulate the economy now to support employment. We have to make room for vital investments and also for pensions.

“But also, we’ve got to make those longer-term savings that bring the budget back to sustainability over time given the new global circumstances.”

Business confidence has picked up — the NAB confidence index held on to most of its gains in April to come in at a near six-month high of minus 14 points, well above the minus 32 points recorded in January.

With BRENDAN NICHOLSON, SARAH-JANE COLLINS and PETER MARTIN

http://www.theage.com.au/national/get-ready-for-58bn-deficit-and-million-jobless-20090511-b0mb.html?page=-1

May 11, 2009 – 6:50AM

A French textile firm has caused outrage by telling nine of its workers that they have the choice between the sack and redeploying to an Indian factory and taking a gigantic pay-cut.

Carreman told its workers at a plant in the southwestern town of Castres that it would offer them pay of 69 euros ($122.37) a month if they moved to Bangalore, union officials said at the weekend.

The minimum legal monthly salary in France is 1321 euros ($2342.82).

Francois Morel, the boss of the factory, told a local paper that before being allowed to lay off the workers he was obliged to offer them work elsewhere in the group under legal requirements which he described as “stupid”.

CGT union official Edmond Andreu told AFP that the offer had provoked “anger mixed with stupefaction” among workers at the factory, who say it is obvious no-one will take up the proposition.

Workers at the Bangalore factory are paid the equivalent of 69 euros a month for working a six-day week, and get an annual bonus of a month’s pay as well as medical insurance.

The nine Castres workers were also offered free plane tickets and a 1000-euro bonus for moving.

The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
You are here: HigherEducation > Publications > The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
“The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey: Graduates’ education and employment outcomes five years after completion of a bachelor degree at an Australian university“ reports the findings of the 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey. It contains information on the outcomes and pathways of bachelor graduates five years after graduation.

Abstract
The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was designed to gain information on employment outcomes five years after completing a bachelor degree, how these changed from graduates’ initial outcomes, the pathways taken and the factors that influence outcomes. 9,238 graduates from all Table A higher education providers (with one exception) as well as Bond University and the University of Notre Dame participated in the survey. The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was the first national study of its kind in Australia.

The Key findings were that:

Graduates can take a few years to establish their careers: the rate of participation in paid work among graduates rose from 84% to 91% between the first and fifth year following graduation;
At the national level, the median graduate salary rose from $38,000 to $60,000 in the first five years post-graduation – a 58% increase;
Graduate outcomes and pathways varied for different fields of education, with some graduates taking longer to settle into their careers; and
Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved outcomes on par with the general graduate population.

http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Publications/Pages/The2008GraduatePathwaysSurvey.aspx

LSAY 55: Varying pay-offs to post school education and training
Posted on 20 January 2009 at 09:16AM

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release Tuesday 20 January 2009

Varying pay-offs to post school education and training

Social background plays only a small role in accounting for differences in occupational status and earnings at age 24, indicating that education is enhancing social mobility, a recent Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) study found.

The study, released today, found that, in general, post-school education and training leads to higher status occupations and higher earnings, compared to not doing any further study or training.

However, not all forms of post-secondary education and training are equally beneficial. In terms of earnings, a bachelor degree had the largest impact, increasing earnings by about 31 per cent on average. Apprenticeships increased earnings by about 23 per cent, a TAFE diploma increased earnings by about 14 per cent, and a university diploma by about 17 per cent. Completing a traineeship increased earnings by about 8 per cent and a TAFE certificate by about 5 per cent.

Generally, young women had slightly higher levels of occupational status than did young men, but even during their early career weekly earnings were about 20 per cent less. Possible reasons for this include the higher proportions of young women in part-time work and gender differences in the types of jobs.

ACER chief executive, Professor Geoff Masters, said “Although the overall results are positive for education and training, some TAFE certificates are not delivering sustained increases in earnings. This is in part due to the types of jobs some vocational education is directed towards.”

“However, it may be that young people who had experienced difficulties in the labour market are pursuing TAFE certificate courses or that they are not always choosing appropriate courses.”

The young people were first surveyed in 1995 when they were in Year 9. More than 4200 remained in the study when they were last surveyed in 2005 at about 24 years old. By then, 77 per cent of the cohort was in full-time work. In all years, the incidence of full-time work was substantially higher among young men than among young women.

Further information and additional findings are available in the report, The Occupations and Earnings of Young Australians: The Role of Education and Training by Gary N. Marks. The study is research report number 55 in the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY), a program funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) with support from state and territory governments.

Download full report from: http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/LSAY55.pdf

http://www.acer.edu.au/1/index.php/news-item/lsay55

29 April 2009 8:05am

More than half of employees in the Australian finance profession have had to take on extra tasks after staff cuts, but employers are failing to put in place countering work/life balance initiatives, a survey has found.

Almost one in two accounting and finance professionals (48%) works in a department affected by restructuring, according to Robert Half’s research, which involved 366 Australians (and 4,830 workers worldwide).

Some 58 per cent have taken on extra responsibilities as a result of consolidation, and 49 per cent report increased workloads (Australia was second only to Singapore in this regard, where 58% of workers had higher workloads).

Roughly in line with these figures, almost half (48%) of workers are reporting greater stress, the survey says. Some 33 per cent also report lower morale.

Robert Half found that despite these numbers, only 13 per cent of companies have introduced programs to manage work/life balance, and just 35 per cent have increased the level of communication between managers and staff.

According to David Jones, the managing director of Robert Half Asia Pacific, the one rule that employers should currently be living by is: “you can’t over-communicate in tough times”.

He acknowledges that communication can be more challenging when employees and managers are fearful for their jobs, and suggests giving people the opportunity to ask questions anonymously, “in an open forum whereby questions are submitted in an envelope so nobody knows who’s asking [them]. This ensures managers are made aware of the core issues in their departments and gives them the opportunity to respond.

“Without these sorts of initiatives, managers are often left in the dark and staff continue to feel insecure or unappreciated, leading to a decline in productivity,” he notes.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1140&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

28 April 2009 8:06am

“New entrant” airlines investing heavily in employee development and resisting the urge to “slash and burn” their workforce during economic slumps are outperforming the industry giants, says a new book on the flight trade.

Airlines with the highest labour costs have some of the lowest total costs, say Monash University’s Professor Greg Bamber and North American business academics Jody Hoffer Gittell, Thomas Kochan and Andrew von Nordenflycht in Up in the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees (Cornell University Press ISBN 9780801447471).

They seek to cut expenditure through “underlying process improvements” and building employee commitment rather than “adopting a narrower focus” on reducing staff numbers.

Employee morale within the airline industry is at a next-to-all-time low, the authors say. In 2007, a survey revealed that only 25 per cent of pilots and flight attendants believed that morale in the industry was high, compared to more than 60 per cent just seven years before.

Regular lay-offs over that period have led to increasing cynicism among employees regarding airline management, the authors say. (Just two weeks ago Qantas announced plans to shed 1,750 fulltime-equivalent positions.)

Low morale often results in poor quality service – alienating many customers – and a spike in flight cancellations as disgruntled employees begin “working to rule” (contributing the bare minimum) and declining overtime assignments.

“Labour cost reductions may have been a necessary condition for survival at some airlines,” the authors say, “but they are far from sufficient for fostering a return to sustained profitability.

“[They] can even be counter-productive when they are carried out in a way that allows total costs to grow and service quality to decline. When service quality declines, costs can rise even further due to the costs of service recovery.”

Case Study
Southwest Airlines entered the US market in 1971, and – in what the authors describe as an “unusual feat” in the deregulated industry – has been profitable every year (but its first) since.

Southwest’s initial competitive strategy was based on the rapid turnaround of aircraft between flights, which required “high levels of coordination” across all elements of the business.

According to the authors, the airline is characterised by “frequent, timely problem-solving communication between functions” attributable to HR practices focussing on “building shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect”.

Southwest’s strategies include:
a hiring process that seeks to identify candidates “with an awareness of other people and a respect for their work”, as well as a willingness to go above and beyond their specialisation;

a training process that builds on this foundation. Employees receive on-the-job training by a coordinator who explains not only the tasks to be performed but how these tasks impact other functions;

job descriptions that outline specialist tasks but encourage flexibility, with broader language such as, “whatever else is needed to ensure a successful operation”;

a high supervisor-to-employee ratio, enabling leaders to actively engage in coaching, respond to feedback and relieve workloads at peak times;

performance management that focuses on problem solving rather than the assignment of blame. Southwest also uses conflict resolution to build a shared understanding of work processes across different functions;

a work/family balance policy aimed at encouraging workers to have fun – because if they are “there is a good chance they are doing well” – and to take time off to “renew themselves” and maintain their family and community commitments;

trade union partnerships. Southwest is the most highly unionised airline in the US, but has one of the lowest conflict levels in the industry, and has only suffered one strike in its history; and
job security. The airline has avoided lay-offs during downturns, the post-9/11 crisis and in the face of customer-service automation.

According to Southwest co-founder and former CEO, Herb Kelleher, “nothing kills your culture like lay-offs”.

“Nobody has ever been furloughed at Southwest,” he says. “It’s been a huge strength of ours… Not furloughing people breeds loyalty. It breeds a sense of security. It breeds trust.”
In Australia

According to the authors of Up in the Air, Virgin Blue Australia has for the most part followed the Southwest model.

It seeks to achieve cost savings primarily through efficient work practices rather than reducing pay and benefits or by sacking the workers it has “invested its resources” in, they say.

It looks for candidates with “flair”, aims at developing a happy, motivated and committed workforce and encourages flexibility.

Virgin Blue experienced growth rates of up to 200 per cent in its first five years (after it entered the market in 2000), and maintains “unit” costs that are approximately 35 per cent lower than Qantas’s.

Its operational reliability and on-time performance are also consistently higher than that of Qantas, the authors say.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1138&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

GREG KELTON, STATE EDITOR
April 28, 2009 09:30pm

HUGE job losses in health, the closure of some TAFE sites and increased class sizes are looming because of the state’s critical financial position.

Senior public service sources say up to 400 jobs are set to go as part of a major savings review in the Health Department – and that does not include country areas.

Sources also say up to 127 full-time equivalent jobs will go in Further Education while up to 30 will go in the Courts Administration Authority.

Warnings of the cuts are contained in two internal memos seen by The Advertiser and evidence given to a parliamentary committee.

Health Department chief executive Tony Sherbon has written to staff saying Ernst & Young has been commissioned to undertake a core business review of the department which will take four weeks.

He says while frontline health services will be protected, the intention is to reduce the size of the overall workforce but with “no forced redundancies”.

No numbers are given but senior public sector sources said they had been briefed about 400 full-time equivalent positions likely to go.

The state is facing a huge $1.5 billion black hole in the Budget and Treasurer Kevin Foley has warned the axe will fall on the Government’s expenditure.

The Courts Administration Authority says it has a range of savings planned which will affect “a significant number of employees”.

These include merging some services in the Fines Call Centre, specialists courts such as the Drug Court and also reducing staff in the Coroner’s Court.

Registry offices in Kadina, Coober Pedy, Ceduna and Naracoorte will be open only when the local court is sitting.

Further Education Department chief executive Ray Garrand has told Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee that 95 jobs will go in 2009-10, and 16 each in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He says that equates to savings of about $9.7 million.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25395862-2682,00.html

Chris Zappone
April 28, 2009 – 9:26AM

Jobs at Holden’s Elizabeth factory are safe for now after parent company General Motors said overnight it would scrap the Pontiac brand as it staves off bankruptcy.

Holden said GM’s decision had “direct implications” for the Australian carmaker, which produced 36,500 Pontiacs for export in 2008, out of a total of 119,000 cars built.

The local company said it was “disappointed” with the decision, however, “we don’t envisage there will be any job losses at Elizabeth as a result of this decision.”

Earlier this month, Holden switched from two shifts to one in order to lower its production level to meet the reduced global demand.

Sources close to the company said paring back its shifts when the global demand fell at the end of last year helped Holden avoid announcing more lay-offs from GM’s decision overnight.

However, a slump in demand in world markets may ultimately cost it more jobs in Australia.

”Job cuts are inevitable if you look at global sales figures,” said ANZ economist Julie Toth.

Global car sales have dropped by double digits since the acceleration of the global financial crisis last year. Also, consumers in developed markets such as the US and Australia have shifted demand toward smaller, more economical vehicles, a segment where GM and Holden are historically underrepresented.

”It’s not just about changing models now, it’s that people have just stopped buying cars,” Ms Toth.

Locally, the total number of new cars, four-wheel-drives and trucks sold in Australia in the year to March plummeted 22.6%, seasonally adjusted, according the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the biggest fall since 1991.

czappone@fairfax.com.au
http://business.smh.com.au/business/holden-jobs-safe–for-now-20090428-akzx.html

JESSICA LEO, CAREERONE EDITOR
April 27, 2009 07:00pm

SOUTH Australian workers are remaining optimistic about their job security and two-thirds of people are happy with their employment.

The results of the 2009 CareerOne reader survey show a promising level of positive thinking despite the economic downturn.

Of the 1000-plus respondents, just over one-quarter were very or quite worried about losing their job in the present economic climate, with those most unconcerned falling in the 25 to 34 age group.

Workers in the 35 to 44 age bracket were the most worried about job losses, with 11 per cent responding that they were “very worried” about the effects of the global financial crisis.

In terms of job satisfaction, an overwhelming 64 per cent of respondents were happy with their job, with only one in five reporting that they were not happy with their employment.

Those discontented with their jobs came from the 45-plus age group, while the happiest workers were aged 25 to 34.

The survey results indicate happiness comes from a strong level of work/life balance, reduced work travel stresses and the majority having the scope to seek out new challenges in present roles.

The No 1 workplace stress was unrealistic expectations about workload, followed by issues caused by management.

JR’s Surf & Ski at Westfield Marion workers Bethany Allison and Nick Day have no such worries.

Both young retail assistants report they are happy and secure in their job.

Ms Allison, 21, of North Brighton, says her work environment adds to her satisfaction.

“The people I work with make it really fun. My boss is really nice, it’s close to home and you don’t have to worry about not getting good hours,” Ms Allison said.

Similarly, Mr Day, 21, who has worked at the retail outlet for three years says he’s “definitely not” worried about losing his job.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25394760-2682,00.html